A Personal Influence: Ariane Duhaney

While focusing on highlight empowering black figures who inspire us, some authors may be writing about celebrities or people in the spotlight, I will choose to write about someone closer to home. My friend Ariane Duhaney.

Duhaney is from my hometown in New Jersey, where we grew up together, attending school from kindergarten until graduating high school. We have been through so much together, and I am so happy I am able to write about her kindness and extraordinary talent.

My town is majority white, and Ariane’s family comes from Haiti. She always said she felt slightly out of place being the only black person in the room – a little uneasy, and with today society it seems perfectly understandable why she would feel this way. It makes my heart so upset that she would ever feel this way, when truly she was always the most unique and skillful person in the room.

Her artistic ability has always astonished me. She has always had a passion for art, creation, emotion, and fashion. She has always found a way to express herself through design, whether it be on paper, or sewing a shirt. If you don’t believe me, check out her Instagram Ari500.

She applied to Parsons (The New School) in the city, and it is recognized as one of the best schools for fashion design, which is her chosen major. Since moving to the city she has flourished in more ways than one. Duhaney has been able to come into her true self, and has always set an example, for me, of what it means to accept yourself and accept your struggle. On more than one occasion, in various ways, she has reminded me that not everything is easy, especially growth. Growth can be messy and painful, but how you handle yourself and make it through the fire is how you find your true character, independence and sense of self.

With graduation right around the corner, she has set herself up to blossom in the fashion industry. With internships at Marc Jacobs and Elie Tahari, she has put herself ahead of the game to learn from household names. Her goal in life is to start her own couture line, and I have no doubt that it will be anything other than a spectacular success.

She motivates me to become better, work harder and never give up. I can’t wait to see what she does next. And, I can’t wait to see what new lessons I learn from my friend Ariane.